450 people from around the world gathered in Portland Oregon last week for the 10th annual code4lib library technology conference.
On Monday, approximately 18 pre-conferences were held in half and and full day sessions mostly comprised of demos, tutorials and discussion groups. I attended a morning session on linked data lead by Tom Johnson of DPLA and Karen Estlund of the University of Oregon. As a developer, the demonstration of the ruby gem ActiveTriples was particularly interesting in its ability to quickly model content into RDF classes and properties that can seamlessly connect to fedora 4 persistence or any extensible back end.
In the afternoon I attended a GeoBlacklight demo lead by Jack Reed and Darren Hardy of Stanford. The Stanford GeoBlacklight is a leading map collection interface that allows for spacial search, presentation, and discovery based on the development of metadata schemas, conversion workflows, and interface presentation components. The workshop focused on using the VirtualBox virtual machine and Vagrant setup environment to bring up an instance of geoblacklight in minutes.
On Tuesday the conference proper started with a keynote by Selena Deckelman. Her talk focused on the importance of leading the coding community based on principles of inclusion of beginners and marginal groups. The presentations on Tuesday expanded on that theme with talks focused on users, teams, developers and experiences in dealing with library technology challenges.
The presentations of Wednesday were more technically focused. Thursday morning a closing keynote was given by Andromeda Yelton who encouraged building systems with tools designed to best satisfy the “wanderlust” behind user’s and patrons’s drive to discovery. In between the 20 minute presentations were 2 hour long lighting talk session comprised of 5 minutes talks by 12 people. I thought the keynotes nicely framed the conference, the lightning talks were a great way to digest and get a pulse on what people were working on. As a developer I was particularly interested the the presentation of tools providing facility, such as Kevin Clarke’s presentation of Packer, a dev-opts tool for deploying to virtual machines, and Stanford’s OEmbed service for offering embeddable links to their digital collections, and a presentation by Stanford’s Rob Sanderson and Naomi Dushay describing the experience attempting to integrate their ILS, digital collections, and discovery indexes.
On Thursday afternoon and Friday, I attended working groups focused on fedora 4, hydra’s support of fedora 4, content modeling, and the linked data platform. The discussions were vigorous, and it was a beneficial mental exercise to spin out the various content model concepts of collection/work/file, the distinction between the “aggregates” and “members” predicate, and how to use the LDP Direct and Indirect Containers to deal with assets, rights, and ordering proxies, although I’m afraid not much was resolved. But DPLA (Digital Public Library of America) appears very interested in furthering these concepts into usable models that may promise to be a great step forward in furthering metadata discovery and interoperability.
All in all worthwhile, keeping an eye on next year’s conference, venue TBD.
ScholarSphere Conference at Yale University Library
Yale University Library and Yale ITS are pleased to sponsor a conference and public lecture on ScholarSphere, a software project developed at Penn State University, based on the same open-source Hydra/Fedora framework in use at YUL.
Yale University Library and ITS are investigating the possible adoption of this solution to enable Yale faculty and researchers to self-archive their own digital content in a managed, secure repository for controlled or open dissemination as well as for their own use. Our speakers will talk about the ScholarSphere project both from a technical perspective and as a service model. More information on the ScholarSphere website here.
Patricia Hswe, Digital Content Strategist and Head, ScholarSphere User Services at Penn State University
Daniel Coughlin, Ph.D. Candidate at Penn State University
via Yale University Library News: ScholarSphere Conference Archives.
Avalon Meeting Notes for Nov 24
We had a very productive meeting with three guests: Jon Dunn, Project Director, Indiana University; Mark Notess, Product Owner, Indiana University; Julie Rudder, Product Owner, Northwestern University.
The day started with an introduction to Avalon Media Systems in the Library Lecture Hall which included demonstrations of the work of Indiana and Northwestern who very recently released their first Avalon collections to the public. Powerpoint from the presentation is attached here: Yale Avalon Conference This lecture was video taped but sound is lacking, please contact email@example.com for access.
Later in the day a smaller group convened to have a technical discussion about the future roadmap of Avalon. A recent poster that gives a very high level view can be seen here: RudderAvalon2. I am hoping to acquire a copy of the powerpoint presentation which has bullet lists of all the planned work that will go into version 3.2 through 4.0.
While we are still in the discussion stages of a project to bring Avalon up at Yale, two of the most important features for us include integration with Fedora 4 and possible integration of the backend transcoding processes into Sufia (Penn State has a version of Sufia called ScholarSphere). Our goal would be to integrate the two Hydra applications together so that audio and video files loaded into the self archiving product, Sufia, would take advantage of all the features of the Avalon Media System.
In addition, we discussed many topics including scaling Avalon so that it could transcode more than one file at a time, use RDF for describing complex relationships between multiple files/tracks and digital preservation.
Yale ITS to hold Tech Summit this month, Library IT to present
Join us for the inaugural Yale Technology Summit, a day-long program of conversations with Yale faculty, students, and staff working with innovative and cutting-edge technologies. The event, coordinated by Yale Information Technology Services, is free and open to all members of the Yale community.
Library and Library IT presentations at this event include:
- Library Development for Digital Repositories: What is this Hydra Fedora stuff?
In response to a fragmented digital collections environment developed over many years using many systems, the Yale Library has launched a project to unify digital collections within a single open source software framework using Hydra/Fedora. Michael Dula, the Library CTO, will talk about the decision to go open source with Hydra and Fedora as the underlying technologies. Topics will include Yale’s contributions to the open source Hydra community, a demonstration of initial projects, and future development plans and possibilities.
- Quicksearch: Universal Search at the University Library
The Library offers several search interfaces: Orbis and MORRIS search the Library and Law Library catalogs, Articles+ for articles, journals and newspapers, and several digitized collection searches. The many search interfaces present a challenge to our patrons, who have to select the correct search depending on the material they need. The Library will combine several of these search interfaces into one unified ‘Quicksearch’, which over time will become a comprehensive search interface for the majority of Library resources. The Quicksearch poster session will highlight progress on the project so far. We will also provide laptops so Summit Participants can try the new search for themselves.
- Humanities Data Mining in the Library
In response to increased scholarly demand, Yale University Library is helping humanists make sense of large amounts of digital data. In this presentation, we will highlight recent projects based on Yale-digitized data, data from large commercial vendors, and data from the Library of Congress. We’ll address 1) working with digitized collections that are subject to license & copyright, 2) thinking about both explicit metadata and latent structure in large digital collections, and 3) moving beyond text to consider machine vision and computational image analysis.
- Preservation and Access Challenges of Born-Digital Materials
We will provide an introduction to the scope of born-digital materials at Sterling Memorial Library and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and in particular will discuss the innovative ways staff at the Yale libraries are collaborating with colleagues on different initiatives, including a digital forensics lab devoted to the capture of born-digital materials, an emulation service that can provide online access to vintage computing environments via a web browser, and a vision for digital preservation to ensure that collection materials we capture today will remain usable in the future.
Watch the conversation on #YaleTechSummit2014 on Twitter!